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 Post subject: Re: Best digital multimeter
PostPosted: Mar Fri 09, 2012 11:41 pm 
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Joined: May Sun 06, 2007 2:52 am
Posts: 1586
Location: New Hampshire, 03262
I bought a Radio Shaft DMM model 22-174 back around 1992.It cost around $70 new,and served me well until about 5 years ago.Some self-proclaimed expert once wrote an article about DMMs and stated that this model was so inaccurate that he just threw it in the trash.He claimed that just about everyone else he knew that bought one experienced the same accuracy issues.

Well, that meter finally started having problems and I decided to retire it.The AC/DC voltage and current functions still work,but nothing else.I bought a Fluke 179 and the first thing I did was compare the old Rat Shack meter readings to it.

I was rather surprised by the results.The RS meter readings were EXTREMELY close,if not identical, to the Fluke on DC measurements and were still respectably close on AC-well within original factory specs.I guess I must have gotten one of the good ones.In some ways,I like the RS meter better than the Fluke,but build quality is definately in the Fluke's favor.


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 Post subject: Re: Best digital multimeter
PostPosted: Mar Fri 09, 2012 11:53 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 14664
Location: SoCal, 91387
N4EV wrote:
I like my Beckman DVM DM-100, in the yellow case. You can put the probes on ANY thing and
turn the range switch all the way around. NO SMOKE. The ad for the thing shows it reading 115vac
while it sets in a bucket of water. Try that with a Fluke!

Thx for the tip; the next time I get the urge to measure line voltage with my meter sitting in a bucket of water I'll keep that in mind! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Best digital multimeter
PostPosted: Mar Sat 10, 2012 2:44 am 
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Joined: Jun Sat 09, 2007 8:14 am
Posts: 2003
Location: Florida
Get a VTVM. It's hard to blow 'em up and old radios are full of 10% (at best) and 20% parts.

RRM


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 Post subject: Re: Best digital multimeter
PostPosted: Mar Sat 10, 2012 3:23 am 
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Location: Ohio 45177
I have a couple of Simpson VTVM's. IF you want to go with a VTVM, and have the means to calibrate it or check the cal, by all means get one as they are pretty darn cheap these days. Actually if you have a good Fluke meter, you could cal your VTVM against that, with no concerns at all. Actually, comparing the non linearities across the cal range of your VTVM againt the Fluke could lead to dissatisfaction.


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 Post subject: Re: Best digital multimeter
PostPosted: Mar Sat 10, 2012 3:53 am 
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Joined: Oct Mon 25, 2010 3:42 am
Posts: 769
Location: Bethel Springs,TN
I have a VTVM already. I am just looking to replace my old digital meter that I bought years ago at a yard sale. I have decided to go with a Fluke either 79iv series or 177-179. Just looking for the right deal now. Thanks for all the help guys.

Frank


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 Post subject: Re: Best digital multimeter
PostPosted: Mar Sat 10, 2012 6:01 am 
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Location: Erie, PA
Retired Radio Man wrote:
Get a VTVM. It's hard to blow 'em up and old radios are full of 10% (at best) and 20% parts.

RRM



I can't disagree with this. But... if the parts in the 50 year old radio one is testing are at the max of their 20% tolerance as are the parts in the 50 year old VTVM that has never had its calibration checked.... you see where I'm going....

Your average new .5% accuracy handheld DMM should be at least at its .5% out of the package, many will be better than their specs and they can be used for comparative calibration of old 3-5% accuracy analog meters.

I have read owner reviews on many of the latest Radio Shack DMM's, and they aren't too good. But in contrast here is a Rat Shack autoranging one I have had out in my tool box for a long time. It looks like a Fluke wanna-be, and weighs about 2 ounces. I think it was made in the late 90's or early '00's. I bought it at a garage sale for a dollar. The accuracy on all its functions is within a count or two so nothing to complain about:

Image

-Mark-

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 Post subject: Re: Best digital multimeter
PostPosted: Mar Sat 10, 2012 8:06 am 
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Location: Minneapolis, MN - USA
Beckman HD100 or HD110 - excellent meters that competed directly against Fluke, but no longer in existance. My HD110 is some 30+ years old, and it's been everywhere, and has never faulted me.

This one that shipped for $15 was an outstanding buy, for a RF-proof high-end meter that cost around $300 when new:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/ws/eBayISAPI.dl ... true&rt=nc

Image

If you could walk with this 310 for $14 shipped, you'd be doing EXCELLENT:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Beckman-Industr ... 27c478bbc4

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Best digital multimeter
PostPosted: Mar Sat 10, 2012 8:20 am 
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Location: SoCal, 91387
The Beckman is not autoranging...Fluke's are.

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 Post subject: Re: Best digital multimeter
PostPosted: Mar Sat 10, 2012 8:45 am 
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Joined: Oct Sun 11, 2009 10:06 am
Posts: 1441
Location: British Columbia
The Tektronix TX-3 is by far, the nicest meter I have owned. They usually go for about 100 bucks now. They read AC and DC at the same time, and they autorange quickly with a HUGE display.... Loaded with features. Here is a link to look at>>>>

http://tinymicros.com/wiki/Tektronix_TX3


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 Post subject: Re: Best digital multimeter
PostPosted: Mar Sat 10, 2012 7:09 pm 
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Joined: Jun Sat 09, 2007 8:14 am
Posts: 2003
Location: Florida
MarkPalmer wrote:


I can't disagree with this. But... if the parts in the 50 year old radio one is testing are at the max of their 20% tolerance as are the parts in the 50 year old VTVM that has never had its calibration checked.... you see where I'm going.... -Mark-


Using any old equipment without giving it a through going over isn't likely to have a good result.

RRM


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 Post subject: Re: Best digital multimeter
PostPosted: Mar Sat 10, 2012 11:09 pm 
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Joined: Mar Mon 17, 2008 5:05 am
Posts: 3782
Location: Palmerston North, New Zealand
Quote:
The Beckman is not autoranging...Fluke's are.


Sometimes that is not an advantage. I have an el-cheapo DVM that is not auto-ranging - I like it because one glance at the knob tells me what scale the display is on........ :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Best digital multimeter
PostPosted: Mar Sat 10, 2012 11:17 pm 
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Joined: Nov Mon 14, 2011 4:39 pm
Posts: 267
Location: Eureka, Pa
I have the Fluke 115 and it has been a great meter for my fledgling radio repair bench. I also have an old faithful Fluke 8050A. I must admit that I really enjoy the auto-ranging feature on the 115.

BTW, I still purchased a good ol' Heathkit C-3 so I could do leakage tests on my capacitors.

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 Post subject: Re: Best digital multimeter
PostPosted: Mar Sat 10, 2012 11:21 pm 
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Joined: Nov Mon 14, 2011 4:39 pm
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Location: Eureka, Pa
Oops, forgot to state I also have a Micronta VTVM Model 22-025 (FYI Micronta also made a Transistor tester with the same model number).

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On the bench: Telefunken Hymnus 5116 Wk


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 Post subject: Re: Best digital multimeter
PostPosted: Mar Sun 25, 2012 4:40 am 
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Joined: Oct Mon 25, 2010 3:42 am
Posts: 769
Location: Bethel Springs,TN
I ended up finding a mint Fluke 179 for $140 including shipping. I got it this past week and I am really impressed. Looking forward to using it on lots of stuff in the coming months and years. Thanks to all of you for your suggestions,
Frank


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 Post subject: Re: Best digital multimeter
PostPosted: Mar Sun 25, 2012 4:41 am 
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Joined: Oct Mon 25, 2010 3:42 am
Posts: 769
Location: Bethel Springs,TN
I ended up finding a mint Fluke 179 for $140 including shipping. I got it this past week and I am really impressed. Looking forward to using it on lots of stuff in the coming months and years. Thanks to all of you for your suggestions,
Frank


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 Post subject: Re: Best digital multimeter
PostPosted: Mar Sun 25, 2012 2:31 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 5417
Location: Upstate NY, USA
Do not get the Sears Model 82344 mentioned in the second post. I thought it would be a good meter for the camper. I had two and had to return them both. Both off by more than 5%. Measuring current was useless with both. DC volts and temp. were the only things halfway accurate on it. After I returned the second one I read the reviews. Not pretty.

I have had a Fluke 73 for 25+ years I bought used back then. Still going strong and dead on accurate.
I also have two Fluke 8000 series (don't remember the exact numbers) bench meters I bought used for $20 each. They work well on the bench.

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 Post subject: Re: Best digital multimeter
PostPosted: Mar Sun 25, 2012 3:26 pm 
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Joined: Mar Thu 22, 2012 9:19 pm
Posts: 735
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Not the best, but I thought I'd mention that there are some WaveTek Meterman 34XR's on eBay for only $55 including shipping. Decent. Note: This eBay item does not come with a battery or a magnet. I got one last week and am pleased with it, compared to lower priced cheapies.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/280838408209?ss ... 1439.l2649

Keith

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 Post subject: Re: Best digital multimeter
PostPosted: Mar Wed 28, 2012 2:21 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 6377
Location: Beaver Falls, PA. USA
I'm another Fluke 8060A user; I carried one in my kit for almost 23 years, as a field tech. It's still there, ready for another service call!

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 Post subject: Re: Best digital multimeter
PostPosted: Mar Wed 28, 2012 3:38 am 
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Joined: Jun Tue 21, 2011 8:27 pm
Posts: 2819
Location: Virginia
I've had a Fluke 75 for almost 25 years and its never failed me.
Original cost was about $120 at the time.

~ Mitch ~


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 Post subject: Re: Best digital multimeter
PostPosted: Mar Wed 28, 2012 1:07 pm 
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Joined: May Mon 18, 2009 5:55 pm
Posts: 2383
Location: Erie, PA
In case anyone was wondering about the little cheapie $9.99 Harbor Freight DMM that you get for free with a $20 purchase: Image

Not that anyone in their right mind would really count on one of these, but I got one about a year and a half ago (for free), and have been monitoring its accuracy with it not being used, just sitting in a drawer in the garage. Other than the 2 AC scales, it met its published specs when new. The ohms scales have remained stable. All the other functions, DC and AC volts and DC current have drifted down 1% every six months. It is now well out of its publsihed spec. I wouldn't count on these for any form of long term accuracy. There is a video on Fluke's website that shows what these do when heavily overloaded- they explode like a bomb :D

-Mark-

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